My True Identity – Matt E Diaz

September 15, 2016

Hi, I’m Matt E Diaz, the American heterosexual Presbyterian carnivorous coach of Team Avalanche.


I’m hoping that the above introduction was as ludicrous to read as it was to write, but I’ve been paying close attention to the way people describe themselves over the last month. In the past week alone I’ve heard people identify themselves by nationality, sexual orientation, denomination, eating habits, and even youth travel baseball team.


It sounds amazingly idiotic, doesn’t it? Everyone of those adjectives will let me down at some point. I love my country, but if it’s the end-all/be-all of me, I will stay glued to talk radio, bitter and disappointed. If I ever feel like because I don’t struggle with same-sex attraction that I’m somehow immune to sexual sin, I am at risk of self-righteousness and I’ve lied to myself and God. I searched for and found a church where I belong, but even my church can become an idol and get in the way of me experiencing the Church. Sometimes I want a salad instead of a pork chop, and coaching nine-year-olds makes me as miserable as it does happy. There is no sustained peace in finding identity in things of this world, but we still try.


“Baseball is what I did, it’s not who I am.”  


This was my favorite quote as a retiring baseball player two and a half years ago. It was almost as if the more I told it to myself, the more I might start to believe it in my deepest places. After all, I was an outspoken Christian. In an effort to prove that I didn’t find identity in baseball I started working immediately on my second career. But this was an unfair proposition. It was unfair to my family, my friends, and my new job.  


“Baseball is what I did…”


There used to be a popular shirt that read, “Baseball is life…the rest is just details.” I defiantly bought the Christian store version in high school that said “Christ is life…baseball is just a game.” I never wanted to be defined by what I did on a field. There is so much failure in baseball, and being defined by it seemed like a losing proposition, even as a teenager.


“…It’s not who I am.”  


I don’t remember the exact moment where baseball became a part of me. I can’t blame my Granny who at 100 years old would still introduce me as, “my grandson the baseball player.” I can’t throw responsibility on the TSA guys in Atlanta who would let me skip to the front of the line. When they were confronted by their supervisor, they simply said, “He’s a Braves player.” Somewhere in these encounters the lie grabbed ahold of me; indeed I was a baseball player, not as a profession, but as a person.  


Needless to say, the past two years, after having retired from the sport, have been harder than I naïvely thought they’d be. However, it has opened my eyes to a cultural issue that we as a society are struggling with. There is a worldwide identity crisis going on. Just look at the different sources we’re looking to for our identity.


As we seek identity apart from Christ, we end up bitter, disappointed, self-righteous, cliquey, hungry, miserable, or a combination of all of these. There is only one place to find True Identity. It’s not in possessions, positions, or politics. We as Christians know this, but we cannot forget it. I will leave you with a proper introduction of myself based on Colossians 1:13-14.


He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”


I’m Matt E Diaz, the once lost, now found, redeemed, forgiven, and loved child of the King! All that other stuff seems really small right now. Please pray for me as I continue to try to keep it small.


—Matt E Diaz


Matt E Davis is a regular contributor to The Increase and will be providing monthly articles and opinions.
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